After the completion of the prophecies and histories appertaining to the Jewish people and kings, Jeremiah subjoins one referring to an individual, Baruch; even as there are subjoined to the epistles of Paul addressed to churches, epistles to individuals, some of which were prior in date to the former. Afterwards follow the prophecies referring to other nations, closing the book [Grotius]. The date of the events here told is eighteen years before the taking of the city; this chapter in point of time follows the thirty-sixth chapter. Baruch seems to have been regularly employed by Jeremiah to commit his prophecies to writing (Jer 36:1, 4, 32).
1. these words -- his prophecies from the thirteenth year of Josiah to the fourth of Jehoiakim.
3. Thou didst say, &c. -- Jeremiah does not spare his disciple, but unveils his fault, namely, fear for his life by reason of the suspicions which he incurred in the eyes of his countrymen (compare Jer 36:17), as if he was in sympathy with the Chaldeans (Jer 43:3), and instigator of Jeremiah; also ingratitude in speaking of his "grief," &c., whereas he ought to deem himself highly blessed in being employed by God to record Jeremiah's prophecies.
added -- rescued from the peril of my first writing (Jer 36:26). I am again involved in a similar peril. He upbraids God as dealing harshly with him.
I fainted -- rather, "I am weary."
no rest -- no quiet resting-place.
4. that which I have built ... planted I will pluck up -- (Isa 5:5). This whole nation (the Jews) which I founded and planted with such extraordinary care and favor, I will overthrow.
5. seekest thou great things for thyself -- Thou art over-fastidious and self-seeking. When My own peculiar people, a "whole" nation (Jer 45:4), and the temple, are being given to ruin, dost thou expect to be exempt from all hardship? Baruch had raised his expectations too high in this world, and this made his distresses harder to be borne. The frowns of the world would not disquiet us if we did not so eagerly covet its smiles. What folly to seek great things for ourselves here, where everything is little, and nothing certain!
all flesh -- the whole Jewish nation and even foreign peoples (Jer 25:26).
but thy life ... for a prey -- Esteem it enough at such a general crisis that thy life shall be granted thee. Be content with this boon of life which I will rescue from imminent death, even as when all things are given up to plunder, if one escape with aught, he has a something saved as his "prey" (Jer 21:9). It is striking how Jeremiah, who once used such complaining language himself, is enabled now to minister the counsel requisite for Baruch when falling into the same sin (Jer 12:1-5; 15:10-18). This is part of God's design in suffering His servants to be tempted, that their temptations may adapt them for ministering to their fellow servants when tempted.